Essential Tips For Taking Care Of Your Child’s Teeth
- May 6, 2019
- 6 mins read
Seeing your child’s first smile is a happy memory to cherish. As soon as your baby starts to grow teeth, watching over his or her oral health becomes more important. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums requires a little bit of effort, that’s why you need to set good dental habits early. Poor oral care will only lead to infection, disease, and other problems. Make dental hygiene fun with these tips:
- Show children entertaining videos that talk about dental hygiene.
- Let them choose the toothpaste they like with their own favorite design or flavor.
- Allow your kids to pick their own toothbrush. It can be a good motivation if it has their favorite color or character.
- Use a timer to make sure your kids brush their teeth for two minutes. You can also play their favorite song to make it more fun.
- Reward them for good oral care. Instead of giving them sweet treats, offer something simple or healthy, like a toy or apple slices.
- Plan an exciting activity following a dentist appointment.
The Role Of Fluoride
In recent time, fluoride in toothpaste has been an important factor in preventing cavities and improving oral health. This mineral strengthens the tooth enamel so that it can fight the acid released by bacteria when you eat sugary foods. In addition, fluoride creates a remineralizing effect on the teeth, helping it rebuild weakened or worn-down enamel before it disappears.
A person can get fluoride into his or her body in several ways. Drinking water that contains this ingredient is one. According to the American Dental Association, about three-quarters of the public water supply in the U.S. is fluoridated so many people get the mineral using their tap. Some people take fluoride supplements, but only on the advice of a health professional. Your child may also get a fluoride varnish during his or her routine dental appointment.
It’s important to note that high concentrations of fluoride can lead to adverse health effects, from teeth discoloration to more serious problems like skeletal fluorosis. Be sure your child does not swallow fluoride mouthwash and toothpaste. Follow the advice of your doctor regarding supplements.
Watch Out For Cavities
It’s the word no one wants to hear at the dentist’s office. A cavity starts when a tooth decays and breaks down. It is a hold that can grow deeper and bigger over time. Cavities are also called dental caries, and they must be repaired as soon as possible.
Plaque is mostly to blame when these holes develop. That’s a pasty, slimy matter made up mostly of germs. The bacteria in the mouth produce acids when plaque clings to the teeth. These acids then eat away at the tooth enamel. Cavities are especially common in kids because their teeth can be harder to clean.
If your kid hasn’t made his or her first dental visit, cavities left unchecked can wreak havoc in his or her mouth. Baby teeth may be temporary, but decay can still be painful for children. It will affect their diet, sleep, and mood. It’s important to have those cavities repaired and prevent future ones with proper dental hygiene.
Brushing And Flossing
Good oral hygiene should start at a very young age. At age one or two, children may already use a soft-bristled toothbrush. For these young kids, a small dab of toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride will do. This type should be safe even if your child accidentally swallows it. Once he or she is old enough to spit out the toothpaste, you can switch to one that contains fluoride.
Teach your kid to brush around the gums, teeth, and tongue. You can also ask your doctor or dentist to demonstrate to your kid the right way to brush his or her teeth. Your child will likely need your supervision until he or she is seven or eight years old. Around this time, kids can start using a larger-sized toothbrush.
Be sure to replace your toothbrushes every three to six months or when the bristles look worn. Kids should brush for two minutes. Incorporate flossing in their oral care routine. Do this at least once a day. There’s a type of floss that has a handle, which is more kid-friendly.
Making Healthy Food Choices
Children who consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks are at high risk for cavities. Their diet makes a difference in their oral health, so make sure to limit their sugar intake. Do not let your children have too much soda, fruit juice, or any other sweetened drink. Set the right treats to have between meals. If your child does eat something sweet, make sure they drink water or brush their teeth afterward.
Sugar-free chewing gum can be a safer option for older kids, especially if it only contains artificial sweetener like xylitol. It can provide benefits, such as:
- Helping produce saliva to fight off bacteria
- Strengthening the jaw
- Freshening breath
- Washing away bits of food
- Balancing acid that causes tooth decay
By now, you understand that dental hygiene goes far beyond brushing the teeth. Safety is another big part of it. If your kid plays sports, he or she should wear a mouth guard. This is a flexible plastic retainer that covers the teeth and sometimes the lips. If anything happens, this will protect your kid’s mouth from injuries. Your dentist can help customize a mouth guard to fit your child.
The American Dental Association recommends that kids see a dentist around their first birthday. This allows the dentist to see early mouth problems, so it doesn’t persist as your child grows. Pediatric dentists specialize in providing dental care for children. They will explain the right habits to begin at this young age.
Visiting the dentist early will help your kid be more comfortable about the regular checkups to come. It also establishes familiarity and commitment to better dental health. Your kid doesn’t have to endure having crooked teeth, tooth pain, or cavities. Remember to schedule an appointment as needed or at least twice a year.